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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Having fun and DIY learning

In response to Sylvia after a live session earlier today,

I would like to think of myself as a do-it-yourself (DIY) facilitator and coach - a bass player of a typical jazz group in 1957 (think groups with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, etc.). The "edupunk movement" I feel forces some to dichotomize formal and informal learning in how they relate to academic circles. I don't see it that way. Just as jazz music in the 50s incorporated many aspects of classical music, formal and informal learning can also “live as one”.

The topic of "edutainment" is certainly worth pursuing as long as activities remain "effective” and "engaging" (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005); that is, educative and entertaining. When you consider "edutainment" through an online, live session, the notions of teacher-talk time (TTT) – which also refers to moderator talk time – and student-talk time (STT) become important. If we agree that more STT is required, then one must consider how to motivate and assure that students will interact (e.g., will use writing controls, audio, and/or video); otherwise, students are just having fun but may not be learning a lot (i.e., learning that is educative). Note: the terms “teacher” and “student” can be substituted for “session moderator” and “attendees” respectively.

Differences in language proficiency, accessibility to technology, and experience interacting live with technology are all challenges moderators face when planning and implementing live, public sessions. Another challenge is limiting the moderator talk time and at the same time promoting interaction among all attendees through the implementation of an “edu-entertaining” activity. In my humble opinion, these issues are more important than simply talking about what a fun activity is. It’s more about the process of how to create a fun activity in a live, open space (i.e., "sharing our unique angles") than the product of the (fun) activity itself - the former being contextualized while the latter is not.